The Scythians were a proud race of nomadic warriors that roamed the Siberian steppes hundreds of years ago. Their culture has fascinated anthropologists for generations, thanks to the care they put into their burial mounds and the region's permafrost helping to preserve items left behind by their people.
A new discovery in the Altai mountains, where Russia, China, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan come together, has given enw insight into the craftwork of the Scythian people. Among the objects found was a single beautiful boot. The red cloth-wrapped leather bootie is trimmed in tin, pyrite crystals, gold foil and glass beads secured with sinew. The seams are stitched in a pattern that some speculate is a bird. The condition of the bootie, especially the relatively But the true mindblower is the remarkable condition of its sole. This has lead to speculation that the boot was either ceremonial or that it belonged to a person who spent most of their time on horseback.
As curators at the British Museum wrote in advance of the 2017 exhibition Scythians: Warriors of Ancient Siberia :
Nomads do not leave many traces, but when the Scythians buried their dead they took care to equip the corpse with the essentials they thought they needed for the perpetual rides of the afterlife. They usually dug a deep hole and built a wooden structure at the bottom. For important people these resembled log cabins that were lined and floored with dark felt – the roofs were covered with layers of larch, birch bark and moss. Within the tomb chamber, the body was placed in a log trunk coffin, accompanied by some of their prized possessions and other objects. Outside the tomb chamber but still inside the grave shaft, they placed slaughtered horses, facing east.